Paris attacks | Andrew J. Bacevich: A war the West cannot win – The Boston Globe

“Hollande views the tragedy that has befallen Paris as a summons to yet more war. The rest of us would do well to see it as a moment to reexamine the assumptions that have enmeshed the West in a war that it cannot win and should not perpetuate.”

Against the Islamic extremism that attacked Paris and threatens the world, the US and its allies should assume a defensive posture.

Source: Paris attacks | Andrew J. Bacevich: A war the West cannot win – The Boston Globe

Update 1(?) on Al Qaeda Question posed yesterday

Found in Foreign Policy Situation Report this morning:

Whither the U.S. on MaliThere was an interesting development over the last 24 hours, with a faction of the Mali rebels indicating they would peel off, potentially negotiate with the French, and go so far as to help fight other extremists in the northern part of the country. AP: “Three al-Qaida-linked extremist groups have controlled Mali’s vast northeast for months, capitalizing on chaos that followed a coup d’etat in Mali’s capital, Bamako, in March. But in a new sign of splintering, former Ansar Dine leader Alghabass Ag Intalla told the Associated Press on Thursday that he and his men were breaking off from Ansar Dine ?so that we can be in control of our own fate.'” The leader said his group neither identified with AQIM or another group, the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa, but rather with a group with a set of grievances against the government.” 

AQ must not have registered its service mark and trademarked its name!

For more:  http://www.newser.com/article/da40pamo2/malis-ansar-dine-rebel-group-splits-amid-blistering-french-air-strikes-growing-african-force.html

 

Razor-edge politics as played by Republicans in Obama’s first term

What is the difference between planning to win the next election and conspiring to intentionally collapse the American economy, if necessary, merely so the conspirators’ party can regain the Office of the Presidency?   On such razor sharp edges the Republicans decided to dance.”

Taken from Wassup This Week, the blog written by a friend, Folke Tyko Kihlstedt, which I commend to your attention.

If this doesn’t run chills down your spine, you have to be sleeping!

Just catch these last few paragraphs.  There is a future beyond Brennan, Obama, Romney, all the prospective presidents whose names we might now foresee.  Having this in place, as well as laws that fail to define “terrorism” or “associated forces” and permit indefinite detention, even of citizens, and presumably killing them on presidential authority, is not consistent with American values as I’ve learned them.

“Said Brennan: “I think the president always needs the ability to do things under his chief executive powers and authorities, to include covert action.” But, he added, “I think the rule should be that if we’re going to take actions overseas that result in the deaths of people, the United States should take responsibility for that.”

One official said that “for a guy whose reputation is focused on how tough he is on counterterrorism,” Brennan is “more focused than anybody in the government on the legal, ethical and transparency questions associated with all this.” By drawing so much decision-making directly into his own office, said another, he has “forced a much better process at the CIA and the Defense Department.”

Even if Obama is reelected, Brennan may not stay for another term. That means someone else is likely to be interpreting his playbook.

“Do I want this system to last forever?” a senior official said. “No. Do I think it’s the best system for now? Yes.”

“What is scary,” he concluded, “is the apparatus set up without John to run it.””

via CIA veteran John Brennan has transformed U.S. counterterrorism policy – The Washington Post.

This Stands Well for Steps in a Cyberstrategy

Journalist Rebecca MacKinnon. Crop of original...
Journalist Rebecca MacKinnon. Crop of original source photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is, best I recall, unprecedented for me to rely on another publication to express my views on this blog but this item in Foreign Affairs summarizes the history, situation, stakes, ironies and a possible set of steps forward that can stand for my view.

The U.S. global Internet freedom agenda will only succeed in the long run if the United States can find a way to live up to its own values and offer a vision — in practice — of what a digital future based in civil liberties can provide. So long as confusion reigns, there will be no successful global Internet agenda, only contradiction.

“A Clunky Cyberstrategy” by Rebecca MacKinnon in Foreign Affairs

“We Can Live With a Nuclear Iran” Paul Pillar in The Washington Monthly (update 3: “Why shouldn’t Iran get the bomb…?” 01/26/2012)

Most of what’s published on this blog is just my opinion, often based on little more than other blogs I read and the MSM.  And, although I uphold the idea of contrariness for its own sake, most of what’s here is not greatly beyond the mainstream.  Arguing for why Iran should get nuclear weapons and would get them inevitably was, in late January when I posted about it, contrary to all the received opinion I was seeing.  The article linked below is by someone with some genuine expertise in the Middle East.  It is nice to see that I am not the only person who thinks that, however undesirable it might be for Iran to have nuclear weapons, the sky will not fall.

We Can Live With a Nuclear Iran by Paul Pillar in The Washington Monthly